The most hyped freshman in the country won't be a finalist for the Wooden Award when it's announced on Saturday. Ben Simmons was not certified by LSU for a Wooden Award nomination because he "did not have the necessary criteria to be eligible," according to ESPN's Jeff Goodman. Goodman reports it's an academic-related issue.
The Wooden Award's set of criteria includes academic requirements, stating all candidates must have at least a 2.0 grade point average and be full-time students. The award requirements also state "candidates must exhibit strength of character, both on and off the court."
Simmons made the most recent Wooden Award watch list on Feb. 10, but has since been part of an LSU season that's spiraled out of control. Simmons was benched for the start of a Feb. 20 game against Tennessee, one of three straight losses for the Tigers last month. LSU is currently 18-12 heading into Saturday's game with Kentucky, and is squarely on the bubble.
It isn't unprecedented for a school to not certify a star player for the Wooden Award. Syracuse did not certify Carmelo Anthony in 2003 because he reportedly had a 1.8 GPA in the first semester.
Simmons is averaging 19.7 points, 11.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.9 steals per game this season.